Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 16, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #15



She held the inkwell close to her eyes so that her tears would fall directly into it. Her heart was broken sufficiently enough that the salty water came without effort and formed its own minute pool, which floated just above the thick black substance.
Taking her fountain pen, she mixed the tears in with the Indian ink until it blended so seamlessly that one could not see a trace of its presence. Yet, the transference of sadness and loss was still such a potent element in the mix that its intended purpose would make an indelible impression. Her entire body inhaled the ache in her heart and exhaled the treasured memories, which should have sufficed the longevity of what she thought was their unconditional love. More tears came, and she didn't bother to fight them back. Otherwise, the letter she'd intended to write would never come to life.


I came early because I couldn't write this letter at home. Too many memories of you linger there, too much of your aroma, too much of the things you touched and wore away..... like my heart, are there in my house. So, I'm a whole four hours early, sitting in the dressing room writing this letter. My voicemails and text messages are easy for you to delete, but ink to paper lasts longer. I just hope you'll take the time to read what my heart is telling me to say. You made it too easy to fall hopelessly in love with you. The magic you conjured was powerful and very potent. In the end, magic, like your love, is an illusion. I was caught up in the whirlwind of your charm and your well-practiced words and subtle gestures, all the while never knowing that you are married. But isn't that purpose of magic? To suspend disbelief? Isn't magic really a dark veil blanketing the truth? If so, you've expertly hidden the truth of who you are, and I applaud you because we all fell for it. My heart is still a victim, as is the trust of my family, who readily accepted you as their own. The length of time that it took for me to journey from a sullen young woman to one with a newly awakened happiness was a very long one. My family can attest to this as they witnessed this journey for themselves, and yet, in one fell swoop, your love vacillated from filling my sails to swamping my double-hulled canoe. It seems that I have been born under a dark star, and maybe I am never to know love in its true incarnation. I thought about moving far away so that I could start new and eventually forget you, but the magic you placed over me still lingers, and I'll never be rid of it. It's difficult to exist in my world knowing that you are in it and also knowing that you will never truly be mine. One of us has to leave, and I could never bring myself to harm you. So it's better that I go.

Lifetimes of love,


From the waist-high counter where she sat, she taped her letter to her mirror, knowing that someone would see it, read it, and then show it to David more than likely. Whether he would care or not wasn't the point. Someone would know how much she loved him. Someone would throw it in his face. Someone would more than likely beat it into him. But would he know? When she left the large dressing room, she was fully made up and went directly to the stage for her signature solo hula. It was a slow and sweet song written by a princess about a girl who loved a boy she could never truly have. All that would ever remain would be their memories. The lu'au show owners called it the transitional number, giving the other dancers time to change into their costumes and be at the ready-off stage. In a fitted sarong with a single red hibiscus behind her ear, she took the small steps which would lead her to the unlit stage. Turning on the sound system, she cued her solo and began to dance. The cacophony of dishes and glass clanging along with the drone of conversations slowly went silent as the haunting Hawaiian song brought her hula to life. Years of training conditioned her muscles to move her across the floor as if she were on air. Her arms were supple and soothing as a clear waterfall, and her fingers mimicked the motion as if there were no bones in her hands. Her body arched back at the crescendo of the Hawaiian song, and her arms stretched artfully away from her mouth, and for a moment, she became a striking tableau suspended in time. Those who saw her would never forget the image as it moved them to tears. Every emotion was poured into the dance, and now that it was complete, she left the stage and made her way through the mob of people who'd gathered to see her dance. There was no applause, just awe and tears. Complete strangers reached out to touch her and hug her, to show her that they loved what they saw, and also to have a morsel of her magic. She nearly didn't make it to the elevator.



She adjusted the video live feed, it was loading, and then the countdown began. It was mounted on the mini tripod, which sat on the dashboard right above the steering wheel. She sat back and put her palm over her mouth, and stopped breathing for a second. The tears fell the instant she closed her eyes which even she did not expect. She inhaled and let out a breath that was shaky and filled with nervous energy. Brushing her hair back with her fingers, she let out another breath and then pressed the red bar icon on her phone screen, which read, "GO LIVE."

It made a sharp 'bloop' sound, and in the top right corner of the screen, she saw the numbers begin to countdown.

"Um.........okay.....there's no way out of this. I'm trapped. I can't get out. You're smarter and much more resourceful than I am. I'm just a simple person, but you with your law degree and all of your powerful friends.........I know that every effort I make to live a life away from you will be yanked out from under me. You made sure I got nothing. You got sole custody of the kids and ensured that I had visitation rights but under close supervision. I needed the kind of job that could at least help me pay the rent. Food I could figure out, but somehow you ruined that and made sure that no one who could give me a decent pay would hire me. I work a full-time job, don't get me wrong, but it's not enough to put a roof over my head, so I live in my car. You win, Lorin, you absolutely win. The only way I'll escape you is one way........that's why I'm posting this live video so that when they find me, they'll know it was ultimately your fault. Everyone, my name is Ka'iulani Collin, and Lorin Collin is my ex-husband who has been using his contacts to ruin my life, but he'll never take it. Only I can do that."

She stepped out of her SUV and locked the keys in it. She wasn't going to need it where she was going. In the vehicle, they would find everything she owned, clothes, toiletries, and pictures. Mainly pictures of herself and her children. She hoped that someone would see that she was a good mother despite whatever contrary rumor Lorin may have spread. She made her way through the parking structure until she found herself in the hotel lobby. A large crowd had just dispersed from around the pool and the nearby dinner buffet and were now filtering through the lobby. The elevator she'd intended to catch was still open. If she hurried, she could just make it.



She was the best concierge at a posh hotel in Japan. Originally, she was from Oahu. She graduated top of her high school class and was the founding member of the school's Japanese club. In college, she majored in the Japanese language through her religion class. The girl from Papakolea moved to Japan as part of her study abroad requirement in Religion, and she never returned home except for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. One day, the hotel's general manager where she worked was headed to Hawaii on a business trip. It was his first time there. Knowing that the young concierge was from the islands, he took her with him to acquaint him with the customs and lifestyle of the people. The business trip was a whirlwind success, and before she knew it, she and the general manager had become romantically involved. The affair had become quickly serious. She realized that her general manager was married, so to save face for the both of them, she volunteered to work at one of their sister properties in Hawaii. The general manager wouldn't hear of it until several months later when she told him she was pregnant. To her surprise, he told her that he would do the right thing and divorce his wife and marry her right away. To show that he was serious, he said, "Hawai'i de kekkon suru" (let's marry in Hawai'i)

She was so elated she'd completely forgotten that the general manager did not propose. Instead, he paid her way to Hawai'i, where he instructed her to wait at a hotel for his arrival at a specific time. She waited three weeks. Each time she called him, he would assure her that he had just arrived in Honolulu and that he was on the way to the hotel. She would wait at the roundabout driveway but would never show up. When she called him to find out why he hadn't shown up, he would say that he was called back to Japan due to a last-minute emergency. By the third week, she surmised that he had never intended to meet her in Hawaii to be married. Something told her to call the human resources department at her hotel in Japan. She wanted to check on her employment status. She was shocked to find out that she had submitted a letter of resignation that she'd never written. She'd been set up from the moment she told the general manager that she was carrying his child. She was not sure as to how long she'd been sitting in the roundabout driveway. She'd lost track of time. She reached into her purse and removed a receipt that had a name scribbled across it again and again. "Ka'iulani Shigekane." At least she had hoped to become Mrs. Shigekane.

 Eventually, she stood up, and without even thinking, she wandered back into the hotel lobby. Managing to navigate through a crowd of people, she found the elevator door still open. If she hurried, she could just make it.



The three women entered the elevator simultaneously and took to their separate places in the closed quartered box. They hadn't noticed the others crying as their heads were down and looking elsewhere. There they stood, the brokenhearted hula dancer, the battered wife, and the jilted lover. None were certain about who pressed the button for the 14th floor, but it was lit red. The elevator doors finally creaked and moaned as they slowly came to their closing conclusion. However, a soft feminine hand-inserted itself between the straight vertical opening causing the doors to jerk momentarily. They parted like red curtains on the opening night of a grand show revealing a tall Hawaiian girl much like themselves except that she wore a period English fashion type dress. It was a white fitted top with a thick laced collar, and the same styled cuffs gathered below the elbow. Ostrich feathers were sewn into the sash around her waist, and the skirt bloomed out a bit as it fell floor-length just enough to show her stylized shoes. Her thick wavy hair accentuated her large eyes and humble smile. She walked in and placed herself in the middle of the cart. The doors closed, and the girl did not even bother to look at where the elevator was bound.

 Each was caught up in their own grief, but the tall Hawaiian girl said not a word.
The elevator arrived at its 14th-floor destination, and unknown to one another, each was headed to the exit at the end of the hallway. At first, they all thought it was happenstance and that perhaps one of the others was headed to a room where they were staying, but such was not the case. They quickly discovered that they were headed in the same direction and as they stood in front of the 14th-floor exit door where each one had meant to jump to their deaths. A voice spoke from behind them. It was the tall Hawaiian girl in the period English fashion dress.

"Ka'iulani?" She asked.

"Yes?" Each one replied at the same time and then looked strangely at one another.

Regarding each of them at the same time, the tall Hawaiian girl spoke, "You've lost love for yourselves and a bit of dignity in the process. You did not forfeit your own happiness so that our nation might have hope only to see it entirely lost. I had more cause than each of you to take my own life, but I did not. I could not. You could stand to be more and do more and think better of yourselves rather than just rubbish it all away over men who never grow up."

Each Ka'iulani burst into tears as if they were on the receiving end of a maternal scolding. Their eyes were red and clouded until each held on to one another, but the tall Hawaiian girl was not done.

"Have hope if you're going to bear my name, Ka'iulani." She turned and proceeded down the hallway and slowly dematerialized into nothing, leaving only wisps of herself behind like a wind blowing a dandelion into millions of pieces of beautiful light.

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